Fork lift driver compensated after suffering shoulder injury at work

Unite member, Raymond Fenn, has been awarded £55,680 in compensation following an accident at work.

In November 2012, Raymond, who was employed as a fork lift truck driver for Norbert Dentressangle, was unloading a wagon at the depot when he fell down a pot hole, wrenching his shoulder on the wagon. 

Although Raymond continued to work over the following months, he was in a great deal of pain and eventually consulted his GP who referred him for an ultrasound scan at Barnsley District Hospital. The scan revealed that he had torn a tendon in his shoulder.

Raymond underwent a course of physiotherapy and was given steroid injections. However, the treatment did not alleviate his symptoms and he went on to have surgery on his injured shoulder. 

To this day, Raymond remains in constant pain and now has a restricted range of movement.

Despite keeping his manager informed of his progress and medical treatment, and being certified by doctors as unfit for work, he was questioned as to whether this was actually true. 

His employer claimed that they had video evidence showing that he had been working as a coach driver whilst he was off sick.

Raymond was invited to attend a disciplinary meeting, where it was stated that if the allegations were proven, it would amount to gross misconduct and his employment would be terminated. Unfortunately, as Raymond felt that the relationship and trust had completely broken down, he decided to resign.

As a member of Unite, Raymond approached Unite Legal Services who made a claim for compensation on his behalf.

A consultant orthopaedic surgeon confirmed that the time Raymond had off work following the accident was entirely reasonable for the type of injury sustained.  

Investigations also confirmed that there was no actual photograph or video evidence showing Raymond driving a coach, as had been claimed by his employer.

Norbert Dentressangle admitted liability for the accident. However, they continued to dispute that Raymond’s present day symptoms were as a result of the accident and questions were still being raised as to whether he was actually unfit for work.

The case was listed for trial with the Judge awarding Raymond £55,680 in compensation for his injuries and future loss of earnings.

As his case was funded by Unite Legal Services, he retained 100% of his compensation.

Raymond said: “I was hoping to make it to 68 before I retired, but because of my injury and the way in which I was treated by my employer, I’ve had to give up work. I really enjoyed my job and was a hard worker, but the impact my injury has had on me personally has been really difficult.

“I’m lucky that I had the backing of my union, Unite, to make sure that my employer was held to account for what has happened to me.”

Karen Reay, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside regional secretary at Unite the Union, said: “The pot holes were a foreseeable hazard and should have been identified. His employer should have understood better the consequences of failing to meet basic workplace health and safety standards - a painful injury for our member and a significant compensation payout. It would have been simpler and cheaper for the employer to take preventative action to avoid this accident.

“This is a success for Unite Legal Services and all of our members should take some comfort from knowing that our legal services are at hand to act for members and their families.”